Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer
  • .: Welcome to my blog :.

    I'm John R. "Buck" Surdu. I have two Web pages that contain relatively static information about my professional life (including papers I've written) and my hobby life (including information about rules I've written and my wargaming projects). This blog is where I plan to post personal tidbits, like vacation pictures, wargaming projects, etc. Enjoy!
  • More Retreat From Moscow Figures Completed

    Posted By on May 19, 2019

    Mounted Cossacks attack retreating Frenchmen.

    Despite a lot of business travel and a lot of activity at work, I managed to complete a few more figures for my Retreat from Moscow game at Historicon.  The game will use the free Napoleonic supplement to Combat Patrol(TM).

    More Cossack attacks.

    I have had the retreating Frenchmen completed for quite some time.  Lately I’ve been working hard to complete the pursuing Russians.  In these first two pictures you an see mounted and dismounted Cossacks from Old Glory.

    Russian Hussars attack some retreating French infantry.

    Today I completed a unit of 10 mounted Russian hussars in maroon uniforms.  You’ll note that many of the figures are not mounted on snow covered bases.  While the retreating Frenchmen are unique to the Retreat from Moscow, I plan to use the other figures frothier games, so I have mounted them on my neutral earth flocking.

    Russian Dragoons attack retreating Frenchmen, including a sledge.

    Right before leaving for a week in Europe last Saturday for business I completed a unit of 10 Old Glory Russian Dragoons.  These are in green uniforms.

    Dismounted Cossacks vs. Retreating French.

    In Combat Patrol(TM) I will probably make all the figures have an Accuracy of Regular.  The French will be outnumbered and trying to get across the length of the table to a small village with as many figures alive as possible.  The Russians will arrive at points along the long edges to keep the pressure on the French and make sure they don’t just lager up in the middle of the table and fight it out.

     

    Completed Some HeroForge Figures

    Posted By on May 10, 2019

    A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of a figure I “built on HeroForge.”  I made a couple of figures just to try out the site and see the quality of the 3D printing.  I was quite impressed.

    A mounted cowgirl.

    The front of the dismounted cowgirl.

    I made a matching mounted and dismounted cowgirl and painted them in the same color scheme.

    The side view of the cowgirl.

    I also made a pulp girl.  There are two versions of the same figure, one with a backpack and one with a jet pack.

    Front view of the pulp girl.

    Back view of the pulp girl with the jet pack.

    The back of the pulp girl with the backpack.

    I have two more figures from HeroForge to paint.  I’ll post pictures eventually.

    The Cossacks Are Coming

    Posted By on May 5, 2019

    Both of you who read this blog will know that I am working on a scenario for Historicon 19 using Combat Patrol, called Retreat from Moscow.  In a previous post, I showed pictures of my retreating French, but I have been in need of pursuing Cossacks and other troops.  I traded with Greg a large box full of Jacobites for some French infantry.  In the meantime, I ordered a  bunch of Cossacks and other pursuing cavalry from Old Glory.  I finished the two bags of mounted Cossacks and will begin working on the bag of dismounted Cossacks soon.  If I get those done in time, I’ll begin working on some mounted Russian Hussars and Dragoons.

    First of four pictures of mounted Old Glory Cossacks.

    Second of four pictures of mounted Old Glory Cossacks.

    Third of four pictures of mounted Old Glory Cossacks.

    Fourth of four pictures of mounted Old Glory Cossacks.

    While I was working on these, I completed a few other odds and ends.

    A squad of winter German infantry.

    In the box with the Russian Napoleonic figures, Greg had thrown in a squad of winter German infantry.  They were mostly done except for boots and flocking.

    A figure I designed on Hero Forge.

    The guys at work were talking about HeroForge.  I wanted to give it a try, so I went to their site and designed a couple of figures.  The printing is excellent, with very little indication of layer lines.

    Darth Wader

    I had been looking for Duck Wader for a long time.  I recently got one from Mark for Christmas, but I recently found this one on Ebay.  It was in terrible shape, and it had been painted in garish blue colors.  I “rescued” it, and repainted it.  Since I have two now, I am thinking about a scenario with twin Sith Ducks attacking a Rebel base.  Hmmmmm.

    Combat Patrol 1939 in York, PA

    Posted By on April 23, 2019

    The Little Wars TV people asked me to come to their clubhouse and run a Combat Patrol(TM): WWII game for them.  Greg and I drove up there yesterday after work to set up and run a 1939 Polish scenario that I have run in conventions previously.

    A German halftrack pushes ahead of the German force and gets “air conditioned” by the Bofors.

    The scenario involved a German attack toward a Polish armored train that was sitting astride their route of advance.  The turret on the train was out of ammunition, but there was a Bofors gun on top that the Poles used effectively throughout the game.

    The Polish commanders plan their defense.

    Greg watches as the German commanders plan their attack.

    The Bofors gun on train. The train is from Sarissa.

    The Germans had two 38(t) tanks, a Pz. I, three halftracks, a full platoon of infantry, and a command car.  The Poles had a platoon of infantry, the Bofors on the train, two Wz-34 armored cars, three tankettes (one with a 20mm cannon).  The Bofors had a limited field of fire down the center of the table, but fortunately for the Poles, the Germans pretty much pushed up the center of the table.

    The Germans bail out of the burning halftrack while the “light squad” advances to take up positions on a hill.

    A view of the burning halftrack from the Polish point of view. Lots of high fives and chest bumps in Warsaw!

    Polish tankettes advancing past the train to engage the Germans.

    Despite losing a halftrack early, the Germans advanced steadily across the table, but mostly where they weighted their attack on their right.  The Poles began to lose a lot of infantry across the table  They had occupied the building in the center of the table, and for a while, that was the Germans’ only target.  While the Germans only had a little more infantry than the Poles, the Germans made good use of the machine-guns on the halftracks.

    A scene toward the middle of the game. The Germans have lost a 38(t).

    A scene late in the game. The Germans have lost two tanks, a halftrack, and the schwimwagon. The 20mm on the tankette is threatening the German halftrack on the German left, slowing the advance. The halftrack at the top of the picture had taken a mobility kill. The only remaining intact vehicle on the German side was the Pz I, which you can’t see in this picture.

    While the Poles had lost much of their infantry and the Bofors, they had lost no vehicles.  The armored cars and the machinegun-armed tankettes were advancing on the Polish left, threatening to overwhelm the Germans on that flank.  The tankette with the 20mm cannon was causing the remaining German halftrack (with half a squad of infantry) to seek cover.

    At this point, we called the game a Polish victory.  It appeared that all the members of the club really enjoyed the rules and the game, which was gratifying.

    The Little Wars TV club is a great bunch of guys.  Greg and I had a very good time with them.  They also have a great facility for gaming.

    The “plunger faust” in the bathroom of the Little Wars TV clubhouse.

    Work Continues on Hoth Boards

    Posted By on April 22, 2019

    A doctored view of some figures set in the hangar entrance for the Hoth extravaganza.

    I have continued to develop the terrain boards for our Combat Patrol battle of Hoth extravaganza for Historicon 2019.  This is a work in progress, because the rocks at the entrance of the hangar / cave still need to be painted.

    A long shot of the battle boards. You can see the inside of the hangar through the opening.

    The table will consist of 30 textured terrain boards that are two feet square.  Three of those boards represent the interior of the hangar (the gray you see in these photos).  The other 27 are winter.  On top of these boards we will place hills, rocks, and other scatter terrain.  You can see the black and gray rocks in some of these shots.  The rocks around the hangar entrance will look the same.

    Completed my modular caverns

    Posted By on April 13, 2019

    Little by little I’ve been working on my Sally 4th Terra Former modular terrain.  I have been working on making caverns that I could use in pulp games, science fiction games, and others.

    All 15 Terra Former tiles.

    In the next few shots, you will see closeups of the tiles with some 28mm figures for scale.

    The evil scientist’s lair!

    Space kangaroos versus Colonial Marines.

    Giant ants versus American infantry.

    Several tiles.

    More tiles.

    Another view of the ants versus the America infantry

    One final view

    The Terra Former product is really good.  The boxes went together easily.  It took a little work to make the interiors with insulation foam, cork bark, and lots of spakle.  I am happy with the final results.

    Cold Wars in the HAWKs Room

    Posted By on March 19, 2019

    Below are some pictures I took in the HAWKs room this past weekend at Cold Wars.

    Friday:

    Greg’s This is Not a Test game on winter terrain:

    Duncan’s Soynara Gringo game:

    This game is based on a report in the newspapers in 1916.  It was reported that Japanese had landed in Mexico and were preparing to invade the US.  In this scenario, Japanese with a few Mexicans were attacking into Mexico.

    Dave Wood’s Colonial Combat Patrol(TM) game:

    Zeb Cook’s High Himalayas pulp game:

    My Combat Patrol(TM) 1939 Winter War game:

    Saturday

    Chris Palmer’s Feudal Patrol(TM) War of the Roses game:

    This game featured the under-development Feudal Patrol rules based on Combat Patrol(TM): WWII.

    My Barbarossa Combat Patrol(TM) game:

    This game involved German infantry supported by the 211th Armored Battalion, which was equipped with captured French tanks, attacking the Russians near Murmansk.   This scenario was based on a true incident.

    Thou it didn’t win an award, I was quite happy with the look of the table.  The players seemed to have a good time.

    Bill Molyneau running Beer and Pretzels Ironclads:

     

    Mike and Kevin Fisher running a stompy robot game:

    My GASLIGHT game, called Tales of the Gold Monkey:

    This was a typical GASLIGHT free-for-all with multiple factions trying to round up treasure in the jungle.  Most of the board was just palm trees.  As the factions began to explore I placed more terrain, natives, creatures, and treasure.

    Geoff’s Lego Pirate game for kids:

    Dave Wood’s Look, Sarge, No Charts: World War II game:

    This was the first war-game ever for the person in the green shirt on the right.

    Harry and Michael Kogleshotz’ Samurai game:

    Harry used Blood and Swash for this game.

    Steve’s WWI game:

    Bill Acheson’s Combat Patrol(TM) game set in Italy:

    Bill had a relative who won a Distinguished Service Cross in this battle.

    There were a number of other nice games, but I was busy running my four games and didn’t get pictures of them all.  Zeb Cook ran a very nice looking Finland 1939 game using Combat Patrol(TM), but I don’t have any pictures of it.

    Ducks on the Ghost Archipelago

    Posted By on March 10, 2019

    Today we played our monthly campaign game of Ghost Archipelago.  I have been crazy busy at work so for me “monthly” has been more like “every four or five months.”  While the other crews are at sixth or eighth level, I was at zero level today.


    My Heritor is Robin Duck (top right of the picture).  My Warden, at the bottom of the picture, is Friar Duck.  At this point in the game, three of my normal crewmen were fighting a ghoul to gain control of a treasure while my Heritor and Warden moved forward to challenge Greg’s crew for a central treasure.  You can see Devil Duck in the lead.  He looks cool, but he is just a minion.

    Her you can see that MacDuck, my Guide, has rushed forward and is fighting one of Greg’s minions.  Duckhilda (the blonde), an archer, and two of my minions have advanced.

    Here you can see Robin Duck, MacDuck, and an archer in a bit of jungle firing arrows at some of Greg’s crewmen.

    This is another view of the game.

    In the end, I lost no figures (for a change), captured a treasure, and captured a “central treasure.”  In the process I killed three of Greg’s minions and knocked out his Warden.  It was an unusually successful game for me.

    As an infrequent campaigner, I don’t take the campaign too seriously.  I think the Frostgrave / Ghost Archipelago schtick is getting old.  For me, the monthly games are more about hanging out with the guys and swapping puns and funny stories.   It is also a chance to get my ducks on the table.

    Some WWII Tanks

    Posted By on March 4, 2019

    This weekend we were supposed to see my son’s Ultimate Frisbee tournament, but it was cancelled due to weather, so I had a chance to knock out some vehicles that have been in the project queue.

    The first was a Churchill Mk. VII Crocodile.  This is a Tamiya 1:48 scale kit.

    The second was a Sherman “Easy Eight.”

    Finally, I completed two Dingo Mk. II scout cars.

    In addition to these WWII vehicle, I also completed an AT-ST.  Like all Bandai kits, this one had nice, clear instructions and assembled quite easily.

     

    Play Test of “Tales of the Gold Monkey” Game

    Posted By on March 2, 2019

    Last night at the club meeting I play tested my Tales of the Gold Monkey game for Cold Wars in two weeks.  For this game I am using the G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. rules, but I gave all the extras a Save as well as the Main Characters.  The game began with most of the board blank, covered with palm trees.  As the different groups of explorers and adventurers pushed into the jungle, they discovered different sources of treasure, from a native village to idols with jeweled eyes.  These were, of course, guarded by natives, animals, or monster.  Each player had a “cut” card they could use for one free re-roll.  In addition, each player had three dirty tricks cards they could use to slow down other players.

    Jake Cutter and the Sergeants Three gangs move out.

    The table at the beginning of the game. The players begin near the trading post by the lagoon.

    A closer view of the trading post.

    Bing, Bob, Dorothy, and the Andrews Sisters of Mercy climb a ridge to find a lizard idol with jewels for eyes.  Later in the game, Bing and Bob killed a couple of Italians with golf balls.

    A giant spider has other ideas for Bing and Bob.

    It’s a grim day for the Andrews Sisters of Mercy.

    And then to add insult to injury, another player played a dirty tricks card that had a herd of oryx stampede through them.

    Despite all their setbacks, and the death of Dorothy being gored by an oryx, Bob and Bing were able to retrieve one treasure.

    The Italians found the lost elephant idol — but it was guarded by pygmies.

    The Italians lost many men to pygmy attacks but were able to get a treasure at the elephant idol.

    A much-reduced Italian contingent is attacked by an angry elephant (another player’s dirty trick), but they managed to secure a second treasure at the raptor excavation.

    The French Foreign Legion ran into apes guarding an idol.

    There seemed to be a never-ending supply of apes!

    The foreign legion found a treasure after defeating a LOT of apes. They also found Amelia Earhart and a boat and were headed down the river to the lagoon when they were attacked by giant tentacles of some unseen monster. In a “Von Ryan’s Express” moment, the last Legionnaire tried to leap into the boat as it floated past. He rolled a 20, fell into the water, and was eaten by the crocodile you can see in the bottom right of this picture.

    Teddy Roosevelt, two “dangerous dames,” the lady photographer, and his band of fearless adventurers ran into natives guarding an idol. As Kurt was the first one to find a treasure, players played FOUR dirty tricks cards on him, stacking up natives. But Kurt has perennial kid luck and easily swept them aside.

    At this point, the Easter Island heads at the lagoon turned around and started to cut off Teddy’s path back to the lagoon. Teddy and his group tried to cross the river to avoid them but ran into some trouble.

    The Sergeants Three found a native village where they were preparing to sacrifice a white woman for some purpose.

    It took some time, but in the end the Sergeants One (as two died) freed the woman and advanced on another idol.

    The Sergeant One approaches the idol to get a second treasure, but Jake Cutter and Professor Challenger beat them to it.

    Jake Cutter and the American infantry ran into a giant scorpion defending the lost temple. Almost all the American infantry were killed, but Don was able to grab the treasure and also find Professor Challenger to add to his party.

    The game was sufficiently chaotic and bloody, so I don’t plan to make any changes before Cold Wars.  I think all the players had a really good time.  This will make a good Saturday night game at the convention.